I have been busy these last few months both working in the studio and starting a few fellowships I just got into!
I am super excited to be a teaching artist fellow at the Center for Urban Pedagogy and a Creative Community Fellow with National Arts Strategies. In addition, I just started Art Career Monthly, an art crit group led by NYC Crit Club!
This is all part of what I call a self-guided MFA — basically pulling together free or cheap resources to give myself a well rounded arts education and build networks in the art world and art for social change world. In addition to the fellowships, I’m taking a Spanish class at Idlewild, Introduction to the Portrait with Manu Saluja at NY Academy of Art, Choreography classes at EXPG when I can, Barre classes at Shakti Barre, taking a bunch of skillshare classes in Graphic Design on my own. and trying to do 15 hours of studio time a week.
Already I feel overwhelmed and like I’m in the first semester back to school, but in a very good way. I know I have a lot of skills to develop to be the artist I want to be and I also know I need structure in order to stay accountable and use my time wisely.
Last year I was part of the Thrive Mastermind group, which had monthly online meetings, and I found that helped me keep art top-of-mind, but I realized what i really wanted was to be able to gather physically with other artists near me (hello, I’m in NYC) and also get critiques of my work to push me further. I enjoyed my time in the mastermind group and I’m going to continue in their online network as I do think it’s important to be a part of networks bigger than myself!
Last semester I also took the Building a Second Brain class (Tiago is the husband of my friend) and already I am using the skills and techniques I found in that class to be more organized and feel less like ‘AHH THE INTERNET’. Everything I read, learn, am inspired by, now goes somewhere (more or less) and I feel like it makes what I do much more valuable because it’s actually building up to something — or many things — instead of just coming into my brain and leaving. I’m basically making my treasure chest of ideas and mini plans so when I am ready to execute I don’t have to start from scratch. Using Tiago’s methods has also helped me think about how I want to approach my art practice and create my own method for developing new work and finally I feel like I can and I can stop trying to figure out what everyone else is doing (because most of them don’t know and/or it cannot be replicated!).
It seems like a lot of people my age still don’t really know what they want to spend their time on or what they want to do with their lives — or they’ve reached their initial goal and are like “now what?” and I am very, very thankful that I do not feel that way. This is mostly why I am super excited when I can go into the studio on a Saturday or Sunday (and don’t have social plans) or why I’m not as interested in escaping my life — like I am sure a vacation would be nice and I love to travel, but I’d much rather be doing the work I want to be doing. (That being said, I do go a little crazy if I don’t have some form of inspiration on the horizon, but I luckily live in NYC where I can just walk down the street and stumble upon something).
Do I sometimes wonder ‘What is the point?’ — yes. I do. And sometimes I cry and feel overwhelmed. But more often then not, I now that right now I don’t really need to have a grand answer — I just need to keep going. Keep learning, keep building my business, and keep making art.